Scotland sets stage for vote on independence

Nov. 14, 2013 at 9:58 AM
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EDINBURGH, Scotland, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Scotland has a unique opportunity to decide on its own independence during a time of peace, Scottish Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Thursday.

"It is a special moment for any country to be given the opportunity to decide its own future in the peaceful democratic way we are doing now in Scotland," he said in a statement.

Scottish lawmakers reviewed legislation Thursday on the referendum for independence. The measure would confirm the Scottish people Sept. 18 will address the question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

Sturgeon said the referendum puts Scotland's future in its own hands for the first time in more than 300 years.

In July, Scottish Veterans Minister Keith Brown said Scotland has a strategic position in the North Atlantic and will maintain an effective fighting force as an independent country.

The British Defense Ministry published a policy paper in October saying an independent Scotland would have to make do without the $54.6 billion annual defense budget from the British government.

The paper said an independent Scotland would have "real difficulties" in maintaining its own defense capabilities and struggle to build a military arsenal from scratch.

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